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October 23, 2013 at 6:15 AM

In Seattle, still savoring free plastic bags

The "Plastic Bag Monsters," Emma Klein and Jake Harris, testify at Seattle City Council in December 2011 in favor of a ban on plastic bags. (Jim Bates / The Seattle Times)

“Plastic Bag Monsters” Emma Klein and Jake Harris testify at Seattle City Council in December 2011 in favor of a bag ban.
(Jim Bates / The Seattle Times)

When Seattle’s ban on single-use plastic shopping bags went into effect July 1, 2012, I vowed to resist  it as long as possible. I like plastic bags. I voted for them when they were on the ballot, which most of my fellow voters did and the City Council ignored. I reuse bags for garbage. Also for when I walk to the library, to carry DVDs. And they’re good for dirty shoes, gifts of vegetables from the garden, and all sorts of things.

I have not stopped using plastic bags. I stocked up before the ban, with bags full of bags, and whenever I go shopping outside of Seattle where the bags are still legal, I get more. A recent visit to a WinCo Foods store, still in the free zone, was a good haul. WinCo allows you to bag your own groceries. One box of cereal per bag if you want.

Seattle is the Sahara of bags, I thought. But several times now I’ve been given a free plastic bag. It’s heftier plastic, and it’s labeled “reusable.” The first time I got one I thought, “You’ve forgotten to charge me. Thanks.” The second time, I thought: “Hey, you’re doing this on purpose. You figured out a loophole.”

Sixteen months after the death of bag freedom, I still have free bags.

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